The deer rut is a strange and exciting time in the hunting world.
Many hunters wait all year for the couple of weeks that are the deer rut.
But this year instead of just waiting around for the rut to happen, spend a little time planning and preparing so that when the rut does come around, you will have the best chance possible to bring home a monster buck.
Research Your Land
The biggest aspect of preparing for the deer rut is to know the land you are hunting. If you are hunting your own private land, this should be an easy step. For others it may be a little more difficult.
As much scouting as possible is preferred, but if you can’t physically get on the land before the season starts, you should at least do some research. Use Google Earth to get a general lay of the land. By using Google Earth you can spot hills, valleys, creeks, and other major landmarks.
You should also pay attention to the types of vegetation you see in the images. You can use this to help you as you make decisions on where to hunt.
Create / Find Bedding
During the deer rut the does will spend the majority of the time bedded down, and while you don’t want to hunt directly over the bedding areas, you do need to know where they are, and that they are there.
If you don’t have any good bedding areas you should help build some. Planting some small bushes near a food source is a great way to encourage bedding.
Once you know your land and bedding areas it’s time to connect them. Make clear easy paths for the Bucks to follow. The best paths will be small but completely clear of debris. Make it the easiest path to follow but not obvious.
Your path will be even better if you can lead it through thickets. Big deer love the safety that thickets offer, and will often go out of their way to make use of this cover. If you send them that way through a small path, you will know just where to wait for them.
Manage Your Doe Population
Having a proper buck to doe ratio will help you tremendously during the rut. If you have too many does in your area, chances are you may not see a buck move at all. The does will all be so close together that the bucks will not have to move around the property to find a mating partner.
On the other side, if you have too few does, you may lose your bucks entirely to a property with more does. Try to keep the ratio close to a 1:3, bucks to does.
Related: What are you hunting this year?
Clear Your Schedule
This step may be the hardest to do for many hunters but can lead to the best results. The deer rut is a crazy time in the woods and you never know what is going to happen. Schedules change and deer move at all times of the day and night.
The best way to get a shot on that monster is to clear your schedule and plan to spend as much time as possible in the woods. Sunup to sundown is the most effective way to catch a buck moving during the rut. So make sure to show up to work now, so you can take off during the deer rut.